Daily Current Affairs for 28th July 2022

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SC upholds powers of arrest raid under PMLA for ED

GS Paper 2: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.
Important For:
Prelims exam: ED, PMLA, Twin conditions
Mains exam: Role of ED in prevention of Money Laundering
Why in News
The Supreme Court upheld the core amendments made to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which gives the government and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) virtually unbridled powers of summons, arrest, and raids, and makes bail nearly impossible while shifting the burden of proof of innocence on to the accused rather than the prosecution.

The Judgement

• The court noted, “Money laundering is an offence against the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
• The apex court called the PMLA a law against the “scourge of money laundering” and not a hatchet wielded against rival politicians and dissenters.
• SC upholds twin bail conditions under PMLA, says money laundering heinous crime
• The petitioner argued that ED assumed the powers of a civil court. The process curtailed the liberty of individuals.
o But the court said statements were recorded as part of an “inquiry” into the relevant facts in connection with the proceeds of crime. It cannot be equated to an investigation for prosecution.

• The petitioners had argued that the ED could arrest a person even without informing him of the charges. This power was violative of the right to ‘due process’ enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. Besides, Article 22 mandated that no person can be arrested without informing him or her of the grounds of the arrest, they had contended.
o The court rejected the notion that the ED has been given blanket powers of arrest, search of person and property and seizure.
• The petitioners had argued that the “twin conditions” of bail under the PMLA rendered the hope of freedom non-existent for the accused.
o The court replied that money laundering was no ordinary offence. It was an “aggravated form of crime the world over”.
The Twin Conditions for bail

The twin conditions state:

• When an accused in a money laundering case applies for bail, the court has to first give an opportunity to the public prosecutor to be heard
• Only when it is satisfied that the accused is not guilty and unlikely to commit a similar offence when released can bail be granted.
They were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the case of Nikesh Tarachand Shah v. Union of India, but this time SC has upheld these twin conditions.

About Enforcement Directorate (ED)

• It goes back to May 1, 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed in the Department of Economic Affairs.
• It then aimed for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
• The ED today is a multi-dimensional organisation investigating economic offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

From where does the ED get its powers?

• When proceeds of crime (property/money) are generated, the best way to save that money is by parking it somewhere, so one is not answerable to anyone in the country.
• Therefore, there was a need to control and prevent the laundering of money.
• The PMLA was brought in for this exact reason in 2002, but was enacted only in 2005.
• The objective was to prevent parking of the money outside India and to trace out the layering and the trail of money.
• So as per the Act, the ED got its power to investigate under Sections 48 (authorities under act) and 49 (appointment and powers of authorities and other officers).

Revolutionising India’s Agriculture sector; ICAR prepares 10-year roadmap

GS Paper 3: Transport and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints; E-technology in the aid of farmers.
Important For:
Mains exam: Challenges to Fiscal Federalism

Why in News

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has done commendable work in rolling out thousands of high yielding varieties and increasing crop productivity by three times on average. Government informed that ICAR has developed a clear roadmap for next 10 years aimed at doubling the farmer’s income.

Increased production in past

• As a result of the varieties developed by ICAR, since 1950 there has been an increase of 6.19 times in food grain production, 3.30 times in pulse production, 7.46 times in oilseed production, 10.31 times in cotton, 7.55 times in sugarcane production; and 3.42 times in horticulture crops since 1992-93.
• In spite of these advancements, per hectare yield of several crops, most notably, pulses and cereals are still lower in India compared to global average.
o On an average the world produces 4,071 kg of cereals from a hectare whereas India produces 3,283 kgs. The same is the case with pulses where India stands at 704 kgs and the world at 964 kgs.

The Vision

• With the efforts laid out in its 10-year vision, the country can expect ICAR to further boost India’s farm productivity considering its impressive track record.
• Focus areas listed by ICAR:
o Genetic enhancement of plants/animals/fish for higher productivity under increased intensity of biotic and abiotic stresses
o Productivity enhancement through sustainable intensification and mechanization of agriculture and food system
o Enhancing value, safety and income through food processing
o Development of energy efficient technologies and farming practices
o Education and human-resource development
o Developing and promoting innovations in technology transfer systems.

The development so far

• Since Independence, more than 6,100 varieties of field and horticultural crops have been released in India.
• In the last eight year, ICAR released 1,956 high yielding stress tolerant varieties/ hybrids of field crops of which 1,622 are climate resilient.
• Further, ICAR has developed 87 nutrition-rich crop varieties in important crops like rice, wheat, maize, millets, groundnut, mustard, soybean, cauliflower, potato etc
• Be it droughts, floods or harsh winters ICAR has developed varieties specifically to beat these conditions.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

• It is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
• Formerly known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, it was established in 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in pursuance of the report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture.
• The ICAR has its headquarters at New Delhi.
• The Council is the apex body for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture.

Consumer Expenditure Survey

GS Paper 3: Indian Economy
Important For:
Prelims exam: Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES)
Why in News
The Centre has kicked off the process for conducting the quinquennial Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) this month, and the questionnaire for the survey has been tweaked to capture data about items received free from the government’s welfare programmes.

The Survey

• The CES is traditionally a quinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under the National Statistical Office that is designed to collect information on the consumption spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural.
• The data gathered in this exercise reveals the average expenditure on goods (food and non-food) and services
• It helps generate estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) as well as the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.

How is it useful?

• The estimates of monthly per capita consumption spending are vital in gauging the demand dynamics of the economy.
• It helps understanding the shifting priorities in terms of baskets of goods and services, and in assessing living standards and growth trends across multiple strata.
• Helps policymakers spot and address possible structural anomalies that may cause demand to shift in a particular manner in a specific socio-economic or regional cohort of the population.
• It provides pointers to producers of goods and providers of services.
• It is, in fact, used by the government in rebasing the GDP and other macro-economic indicators.

Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)

GS Paper 3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Important For:
Prelims exam: Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
Mains exam: Right to Internet, Digital Literacy
Why In News
The Union Cabinet approved a project for providing complete 4G mobile services in uncovered villages. The government aims to provide 4G mobile services in 24,680 uncovered villages in remote and difficult areas, according to an official statement.

Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF):

• USOF ensures that there is universal non-discriminatory access to quality ICT (Information and Communications Technology) services at economically efficient prices to people in rural and remote areas.
• It was created under the Ministry of Communications in 2002.
• It is a non-lapsable fund, i.e., the unspent amount under a targeted financial year does not lapse and is accrued for next years’ spending.
• All credits to this fund require parliamentary approval and it has statutory support under Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003.


As per the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 (as amended in 2003 and 2006) Universal Service Obligation is defined as access to telegraph services to people in rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices.


• Economic: Network extension & stimulate uptake of the ICT services
• Social: Mainstreaming the underserved & un-served areas/groups by bridging the Access Gap.
• Political: to enable citizens exercise their political rights in an informed way and
• Constitutional: Equitable distribution of the fruits of the telecom/digital revolution and fair allocation of national resources (pooled USO levy) via targeted subsidies.


• Stimulation of rural economic growth:
o Access to telecommunication and information services, provides crucial knowledge inputs into productive activities of rural and poor households.
o It would stem urban migration by generating greater income and employment potential in rural areas and by bringing the market to the people rather than forcing them to leave in search of the same.
• Rural BPOs/KPOS: With the spread of ICT to rural areas, Rural Business Process Outsourcing and Knowledge Process Outsourcing will become possible on a wide scale.
• Positive Externalities: In purely economic terms, connecting more and more areas and people in a country to the telecom network, leads to a more intensive use of the telecom infrastructure, generating positive externalities.


• Social Development: Connectivity fosters social development, including improved education, health and increased citizen participation in civil society.
• Government Services: Increases the reach and delivery of government and social services.
• Main streaming Rural India: Access to ICT would allow Indians in rural and remote areas to participate in the decision-making process and would decrease their sense of isolation.

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